V&A announces ‘Fashioned from Nature’ exhibition

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The V&A has announced a new fashion exhibition, scheduled for April 2018, displaying over 300 garments and objects created from natural and upcycled materials, and innovative fabrics.

Fashioned from Nature will explore the relationship between fashion and the natural world since 1600. As well as the clothing on display, the exhibition will look deeper into how the fashion industry’s demand for raw materials damages the environment and the role of design in creating more sustainable processes now and in the future.

Items on display will include a Calvin Klein dress worn by Emma Watson made from recycled plastic bottles, a clutch bag made from pineapple fibres, menswear and womenswear from Stella McCartney, an upcycled dress by Christopher Raeburn, and garments and accessories from Christian Dior, Philip Treacy, and Dries Van Noten.

Innovative fabrics will be explored including the faux leather fabric Vegea creates from grape waste from the wine industry, an H&M Conscious dress made from recycled plastic recovered from beaches, and an orange fibre outfit created by Ferragamo. Futuristic exhibits include a dress grown from plant roots, a genetically-engineered silk dress, and an outfit created from synthetic spider silk.

Looking to the past, the exhibition will present items including an 1875 pair of earrings made from the heads of Honeycreeper birds, and an 1860s muslin dress decorated with the wing cases of jewel beetles.

Other exhibits on display will trace the inspiration of nature in fashion with motifs and prints through the decades, the history of raw materials such as silk, flax, wool, and cotton, and posters and slogan clothing representing protest movements against the harmful side of fashion.

Fashioned from Nature will run from 21 April 2018 to 27 January 2019 in Gallery 40 at the V&A.